Fogo Island Inn Furniture - Case Study
Fogo Island Inn is an initiative of Shorefast, a registered Canadian charity founded in 2003 by Zita, Anthony and Alan Cobb. Shorefast is dedicated to helping to secure a resilient economic future for Fogo Island, Change Islands and similar rural communities worldwide.
In 2011 Shorefast Foundation commissioned Studio Ilse Crawford to curate a group of international designers to work with Shorefast and the outport communities of Newfoundland to produce furniture and products for the new inn.
An island batholith off the North East coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island was once home to a flourishing cod fishery and along with Gander was a hub of trade across the Atlantic. With the end of the cod came the end of the island’s economy and residents and their children were left with ever diminishing reasons to stay and persist.
By Saunders Architecture
The Inn was to serve the community by offering employment both after completion and during its construction. The Inn and its interior and furnitures needed to be at once welcoming and familiar, and new and progressive. To respond to the knowledge and skills of the indigenous crafts people but also appeal universally to guests from “away”.
The language of the island’s buildings and craft was that of a simplicity saved from austerity by prim detailing, human proportions and a cosy generosity.
We were commissioned to design a dining chair, a side chair for use in the library and a bar stool, we were eventually commissioned for much more, including lights, bars and guest rooms elements.
MDF rigs were rapidly assembled with one eye for the right sort of ergonomic - a knock-aboutness and an informality done neatly and to last - and another for aesthetics - they should meet the ground as their buildings meet the ground, standing firm and self contained against the Island’s persistent, grinding North Atlantic winds.
Details were quickly formed from abutments reasoned to be makeable and robust. The dining chair became broader and lower, low enough to match the dining table height, with an arm that slides neatly underneath.
Opening in 2013 the Fogo Island Inn is home to a dozen products designed by Glass Hill
The dining room is simple and crisp, making the best of the double aspect North to West vista of the often frozen Atlantic sea.